Why Broadstairs? It was love at first sight. We came for the day and ended up going home having bought a house. Broadstairs is the quintessential British seaside town.
How do you define style? We don’t really have a specific style. We just buy things we love to look at. (Well, when we say we, most of our purchases involve Greg who is a junkyard/boot sale junkie!) Sometimes half the fun is figuring out exactly what they are or have been used for.
If you were an animal, what would you be? Greg: I’d be a bird because I love their freedom. Probably a peregrine falcon. They look beautiful, fly fast and have no enemies, except for humans. Paula: A wombat! By the way, I only came up with this because Jake suggested it! Hmmm – thick-set, muscular, looks like a bear – I’ll take the highly intelligent characteristic and go with that.
Best and worst thing about your move to Broadstairs? Best – Meeting lots of new friends that we’d not have met otherwise. We like the way seaside towns like Broadstairs are transient places. All types of interesting people come and go. Worst – can’t think of any bad bits unless it’s seen as a bad thing that a 2 minute walk to the shop can take about an hour through bumping into people we know. That’s one of the things we love about it though!
How much have you had to do to the house to make it your own? We’ve probably changed quite a lot since we first moved in but nothing dramatic and our approach was to do it over time. Luckily the house has retained most of its original features so the rest was topping and tailing. It’s the things that are in the house that really make it our own.
Object of desire for your house? Greg: Anything industrial. I love lamps, clocks and signage. Even my kids say ‘oh not another light daddy’ you can never have too many lights. Paula: A VW split screen camper van parked in the drive.
What would you do if you were mayor for a day? Greg: Listen to the people who live here for a start. On the whole the people who live here have the towns future at heart. Broadstairs is beautiful and the people who live here are rightly proud. Too many of these roles are about the people themselves rather than having a long term consistent plan for the future of Broadstairs. Politics and egos get in the way of long term progress. Paula: I can’t say better than that!
If you could change one thing about your house what would it be? Greg: Bigger garden and maybe a roof terrace. Not too much to ask for I think. Paula: I would love a bigger garden-saying that, we can’t manage the postage stamp sized garden we have so it’s probably best as it is. A football pitch for Josh would be good though! The roof garden has been our dream since we moved in-one day, one day….
Who are your heroes? Anyone who devotes their life to others. There are so many brave, kind and generous people out there.
What inspires you? Greg: Music. There’s always a tune for every mood. Paula: My heroes – people who spend their lives doing things for others without ever asking anything in return.
Most recent item purchased for your home? A jumbo jet wheel that is now a coffee table in our garden.
What do you collect? Greg: Honestly, Everything. But Mostly things that have had a different life in the past. My hardest thing is saying no, I need to get better at saying I already have 10 of those or what would I do with that. Paula: gosh, Greg’s finally admitted he has a problem! I am always trying to enforce a “one in, one out” policy-all I can say it’s a good job we have a loft and two cellars. Greg always knows when I like something he comes home with as despite my initial displeasure that he has bought “more junk”, it will quickly find itself taking pride of place somewhere-for the poor bits of junk that have been confined to the loft/cellar-I apologise!
If you were exiled to the Maunsell sea forts what 3 things would you take with you? Greg: something to read, something to listen too and someone to talk too. I get bored easily. Paula: Greg, Josh and Jake – I could never get bored that way.
What couldn’t you live without? Greg: Oxygen and living etc. :-). Paula: Family…oh, and tea.
Describe your perfect day. 6 ft waves, light off shore wind. Sun shining, some mates and a few beers, beach, great food, wine and family.
Best advice you’ve been given? Greg: Believe nothing of what you read and only half of what you see. Paula: Don’t spend your life worrying about things that may or may not happen tomorrow. Enjoy every day as it comes.
What are your goals for the following year? Greg: Sounds a bit corny but to enjoy life, be healthy and be happy. All the rest is a means to an end. Paula: I’m going to be 40 in October so I’m having a minor mid life crisis – I am training for a half marathon in September and, who knows, if I enjoy that, I may think about doing a marathon next year. Also, to give something back to society so I might do a couple of charity runs raising money for Parkinson’s UK and Douglas MacMillan, charities that we hold close to our hearts.
What building would you like to be locked in overnight? Willy wonkas chocolate factory.
In 10 years time where will you be? Greg: Sitting on my new roof terrace with a beer or a glass of wine. Or watching one of my boys play his first game for Manchester united. Paula: Here, here…and watching our other boy make his acting debut.
ROUND-UP: Paula & Greg’s double fronted Victorian property has all of the original features you could wish for – fireplaces in every room, architrave & ceiling rose’s. Each room has a vintage feel with carefully chosen furniture and an eclectic mix of unexpected vintage curios. The house is large and bright, the perfect canvas for displaying Greg & Paula’s collections, which are soon to expand with Greg’s more recent desire to collect vintage surf boards! This house has got something for everybody, amazing space for the family, traditional features & a contemporary eclectic vintage feel.
Stay @ Belvidere Place
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All images ©Jo Willis